Earlier this year I wrote a post about how scalp psoriasis led to a major hair setback last fall. I ended up losing a lot of hair due to all of the daily shampooing and detangling it took to keep my scalp under control. After a few months I was left with see through ends and breakage. It was disheartening because my hair was actually in really good shape before my scalp went out of control. As a result, I decided to give myself a trim and move forward with an updated healthy hair routine.
My natural hair journey started because I wanted longer hair. I honestly thought my hair wouldn’t grow long because I was black. That sounds pretty crazy right? Well, information on how to maintain hair growth was not as abundant as it is today. This was long before the term, “natural hair,” even existed. So I did what most people did at the time; I sought help from a hair stylist.
I Went to a Stylist for Help
A co-worker suggested I see her “Master stylist” who apparently knew a lot about different hair types. I booked an appointment and drove to the mall where her salon was located. When I arrived, the stylist met me at the podium just outside the entrance. I told her I wanted a haircut and also that my hair wouldn’t grow for some reason. She condescendingly asked, “Why isn’t your hair growing?” I just looked at her; speechless. Let’s be honest. If I really knew why my hair wasn’t growing then why would I drive all that way to see a, “Master” stylist?
This was around the first time my psoriasis flared up so my scalp was covered in flakes. I can’t even begin to describe how embarrassing it was to have someone checking my hair and scalp right there in the mall with all those people walking by. It was the absolute worst! Turns out, she only had me down for a consultation and insisted that I schedule another appointment for her to actually style my hair. Really?
When I first started doing research on how to grow my hair long and healthy, I learned about the importance of deep conditioning. At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I was going natural or not but I knew that I could add deep treatments to my hair routine right away. For my first time, I simply mixed a cheap conditioner with some extra virgin olive oil that I had in my kitchen cupboard. It was very basic but effective. Now, over six years later, I’m still doing deep treatments on my hair to help maintain my tresses. It is an essential part of my natural haircare routine.
I have played with a lot of different ingredients and conditioner combinations over the years. Recently, I decided to start experimenting with store bought deep conditioners. My first one was the African Black Soap Purification Masque by Shea Moisture. You can watch a demonstration and my first impression review on the product in my Youtube video. I chose that product for my itchy scalp woes and it did help some with that issue. This time I wanted to try Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. This one has always gotten rave reviews so I know I’m late to
The Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque is recommended for dry, damaged hair. It says that it helps to, “heal, grow and strengthen” the hair. Some key ingredients are sea kelp, argan oil, and shea butter. You can definitely feel and smell the shea butter in this product. Here is the complete ingredients list:
|This product has a thick, creamy consistency
Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter, Certified Organic), Argan Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax, Sea Kelp Extract, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Essential Oil Blend, Avocado Oil, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract (Honeysuckle), Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract (Japanese Honeysuckle), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Hyssopus Officinalis Extract, Salvia Officinalis Leaf Extract (Sage), Equisetum Arvense Extract, Soybean Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil (Carrot)
You can see from the list that this product is all natural. It is also free of sulfates, parabens and mineral oil. In the directions it says that you can add olive oil for even more nutrients and a moisture boost. I picked this product up at my local Target store for about $10 (USD). I have also seen the line at Walmart, Sally’s Beauty Supply and Walgreens drugstores for
Recently I reached for this product before and after applying direct heat to straighten my hair. Normally, I would use my Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor for a light protein boost before and after heat use. I believe that this product definitely worked in a similar way. My curls appear to be just as a healthy now as they did before I straightened my hair. The shea butter in this product tends to stay on the hair after rinsing so I used it a couple days before flat ironing. Then, I cleansed my hair with a clarifying shampoo followed by a moisturizing deep treatment just before straightening. This way my straight hair felt lightweight without any heavy buildup.
|My curls after using the Deep Treatment Masque
I wore my hair straight for about ten days and clarified again to remove the silicone from my heat protectants and oils. Then I used the deep treatment masque again to bring my curls back. This worked like a charm in that regard.
I always, always, always use my Tresemme Naturals Conditioner (the aloe one) for a quick pop of mositure after using a strengthening treatment such as this. It gives my hair the softness and manageability I need to detangle and style my hair afterwards.
Overall, I would say that this product is definitely a keeper. I do look forward to using it in the same way the next time I decide to use heat or when my curls need a protein
|It’s a wig!
protective styling with
this full cap wig by Freetress
Last week I started a personal protective style challenge. A protective style is one that protects the ends of your hair by tucking them away. My personal challenge is to style my hair this way for a few months. This will be challenging because I prefer to wear my hair down more often than not. Hopefully this will lead to the length retention I need in order to gain a few more inches this year. I plan to do this by wearing my hair in up dos and
Right now, I only have two wigs and plan to purchase a couple more. I’ll also be styling my hair in buns, braids and flat twists when I’m not wearing a wig. I’m doing all of this to keep myself from manipulating my hair. I suspect that the constant styling
I’m used to has led to my hair length plateau. For me, more styling
tends to lead to more trimming.
|The moisturizer that saved the day!
Before braiding my hair up last week, I cleansed my hair and scalp with a sulfate free shampoo. I towel dried my hair and applied leave-in conditioner and grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture. I assumed that this would be enough to keep my hair moisturized for at least a couple of days. I also used Eco Styler hair gel to smooth my edges down. Lastly, I braided my hair into two dutch braids like the ones in my braiding video. Then I wore my wig during the day and wrapped my hair up at night for about two days.
I thought that the products and the fact that my hair was braided meant that my hair would stay moisturized under my wig. Boy was I wrong! A couple of days later I took my hair down and my hair was so dry. I quickly applied some moisturizer and then sealed with the grapeseed oil again. I braided it back up and hoped for the best. The next day, I could tell that my hair was feeling softer but I still wanted to give it more moisture. I ended up cleansing my hair again and conditioning. I decided to do a wash and go style using a heavy conditioner as my leave-in, moisturizer, oil and then gel. My hair had so much life! The moisturizer I think was the key. My leave-in conditioner was not enough on its own.
|My current combination of products
to keep my hair moisturized while protective styling
After wearing my hair curly for a few days, I decided to try again. This time, after my cleansing routine, I applied a heavy conditioner as my leave-in, moisturizer and grapeseed oil. Then I brushed my hair back into a simple bun.
I can tell a huge difference in how my hair feels. If this combination of products works for me, I will continue to do this throughout my protective style challenge.
Wearing my new everyday
I want three more inches! My hair has been stuck at APL (armpit length) for what seems like forever. Part of this is due to my frequent trimming to even out my layers and add thickness. Now that my layers are growing out, I want to concentrate on overall hair growth.
At the end of 2014 I started looking into ways that I could retain more length in the new year. Of course a lot of people with longer hair contend that protective styling is what got them the hair we all lust after. I for one am not keen on putting my hair away for months at a time. I love variety and my scalp does not do well under such conditions. It looks like cleansing my hair multiple times per week is preferred. So any type of long-term protective styling is out.
I do still want at least three more inches though and I want them this year! I’m thinking along the lines of protective styling on the go with wigs and half wigs. I can braid my hair up underneath the wig and no one would be the wiser. This would also allow for washing and co-washing whenever I need to.
So far, I only have two wigs and a diy u-part wig which requires that I leave some of my own hair out. My current wig selection is okay but, I’ve got my eye on a couple of styles that may be more in line with what I’m craving right now. I don’t want to wear anything too outrageous. Just something to get me through the next few months while I quietly hide my real hair.
|Same wig with shorter bangs
As far as haircare goes, I plan to keep my hair in good condition by doing deep treatments weekly. I will probably use things like light protein treatments, moisturizing deep treatments and hot oil treatments. I have videos for how I do these on my Youtube channel. I’m also putting away the scissors. I can’t seem to get enough of those blunt cut ends but I’ve been cutting off all of my progress. I do like to do a light trim on my ends every three months though so we’ll see. Here’s to reaching new lengths in the new year. . . fingers crossed.